Wisdom Comes With Age

Daryl: “I’m a lot smarter than Hal.”

Me: “You don’t know that.”

Daryl: “Sure I do. Hal, what’s 12 times 12, huh? It’s 144. I know a lot more than he does.”

Me: “That doesn’t mean you are smarter than him. It just means you’ve learned more than him. He’s too young for us to know how smart he is. He could be smarter than all the rest of us put together.”

Daryl: “Well, I’m wiser than he is. I’ve lived some long, hard years more than him.”

Yes, son, nearly nine long, hard years makes one a very wise young man. Indeed.


Hal can be an entertaining traveling companion. Particularly if you like varied and interesting conversation. Allowing that the conversation doesn’t have to make sense, of course.

I picked him up from preschool yesterday. He retrieved the stuffed monkey from the floorboard as he climbed into the truck and informed me that its name is “Somo”.

“Wow,” I said as I started the engine. “That sounds a lot like Sobo-be-nye-nye, but shorter.” Sobo-be-nye-nye has been his best and closest imaginary friend for at least the last two years.

“Yes, except it’s Somo. Mommy, do you know what Somo is in Spanish?”

“No, I don’t. What is Somo in Spanish?”

“It’s Alpha-cop.”

“Really? I had no idea that’s what Somo was in Spanish.”

“Yep. It’s Alpha-cop.”

We traveled a bit further and then shortly before we were to get on the highway, he quietly said, “Mommy, I want you to pull over please.”


“Because I don’t feel good so I want you to pull over because I’m going to be sick.”

He didn’t look particularly sick and hadn’t acted in the least bit under the weather up to this point. I suspected that he was just imitating times his brother has claimed to be sick, so I didn’t pull over.

“What feels sick?”

“Well, because Rose [our dog] was licking me when I was a little baby and that’s why I’m sick now.”

“Hal, we didn’t have Rose when you were a little baby.”

“Well, that is what I call the kitty. And it is licking me and so that’s why I am sick.”

By this point, I had entered the highway and I didn’t bother pulling over. I didn’t think that kitty-dog licks were likely to cause vomiting, the primary motivation for stopping the car for a sick child.

“Mommy, why did they make birds?”

“Why did they make what?” (I had foolishly tried to shift my attention to the news on the radio.)

“Why did they make BIRDS?”

“Oh, well, ‘they’ don’t make birds, honey. Birds are born, just like us.”

He paused. “Well, they keep pooping on our window.”

“Well, honey, birds do good things too.” {Think fast, think fast, what benefit are birds besides being nice to watch…} “They help trees and flowers grow.”

“YAAAAYYYYY!!!! They are growing right now. They just need more sun.”

The truck and the conversation took a few more turns before we made it home and my chatterbox rushed inside to see his Daddy.

Passing by the Bathroom

Hal wanted a bubble bath this evening so I ran the water and added the bubbles. He jumped in and started playing with his toys. I planned to clean the sinks and counter while he played so left the room to go find the cleaner.

When I returned, he was leaning against the front of the toilet holding up the lid (but not the seat) as he peed. His bum and the back of his legs were covered in bubbles. The stream from the front barely cleared the seat and would, of course, soon dribble all over it.

This scene reminded me of a couple of other boyhood bathroom antics witnessed as I passed by. About this time last year, Poppy was getting ready to give Hal his shower when Hal suddenly announced he needed to go potty and sat down on the toilet. Poppy went down the hall and Hal soon popped off the toilet and started playing around.

As I was walking down the hall, I saw him poke his head out to see if Poppy was returning and then heard him quietly exclaim to himself, “Oh! Here he comes!” I walked by just in time to see him hopping back onto the toilet and farting as Poppy entered the room, none the wiser.

Earlier that year, I had walked by the bathroom to see his older brother with his underwear around his ankles standing in front of the toilet. As I came into his view, he suddenly jumped sideways and fell into the bathtub.

Apparently, he had decided to try to hide from me and had underestimated how much the underwear would restrict his movement!

Big Boy Underwear

One morning shortly before Hal’s third birthday, I pulled a pair of “Thomas and Friends” underwear out of his drawer and handed it to him saying, “Here Hal, you want to wear your Thomas underwear?”

Without waiting for a response, I left the room to take care of something else. I returned to find him standing in the same spot, carefully studying the underwear.

“Mommy, this is not Thomas underwear.”

I looked at the red train and understood what he meant, since Thomas is, of course, a blue train. I hadn’t meant that the train on the underwear was Thomas, just that it was part of his Thomas set of underwear, but I knew there was no point in attempting to explain that.

“Oh, well, you are right that that is not Thomas. Do you know who it is?”

Hal sounded more than a little disappointed in his dense mother when he replied, “Yes. This is James. You do not get to wear big boy underwear. You need to wear your own underwear.”

Wasp Hunters

My sons are seasoned wasp hunters. A more responsible mother might make more of an effort to discourage this activity. Incredibly, though, neither has been stung during their hunts despite the fact that their arsenal does not consist of wasp spray, as one might think would work best.

The one weapon that seems to always be used is a very large wooden shield that their grandfather made for them. It is at least 2 1/2 feet tall with a handle in the middle. Daryl inexplicably uses the edge of it to grind wasps to their deaths in the yard. One day, he claimed to have killed 3 of them, with one left to track down.

Another day, they came into the house decked out in their full wasp-hunting attire: bicycle helmets, light sabers, and the ever present wooden shield. Daryl announced, “I got a good look at that black wasp. It has hair on its chest.” I guess this made it a more worthy opponent.

Most wasps meet their death when they encounter the dangerous wasp hunters, or so the hunters claim. One unfortunate “black wasp” faced a different fate. It was captured in a toy teapot and named “Blackie”. When I pointed out that Blackie could crawl out of the spout, Daryl shook his head very knowingly and declared, “No. He wouldn’t think of that. He’s not that smart.”

Certainly not as smart as young boys trying to kill stinging insects in hand-to-hand combat. Nor as smart as the mother who allows the adventures to continue. Blackie was, however, transferred to a more secure holding cell, where I believe he died while his captors attempted to figure out what and how to feed him.

Road Trip

We had just finished eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant about a year ago when the following conversation took place.

Daryl (age 7): “Since we are in China, can we go to the Eiffel Tower?”

Me: “The Eiffel Tower is in Paris.”

Daryl: “Oh. Well, can we go to the Empire State Building?”

Jane (age 10): “That’s in New York!”

Daryl: “No it’s not. It’s in Las Vegas.”

Me: “No. It’s in New York.”

Daryl: “Well, yeah, the real one. But the fake one is in Las Vegas.”

Me: “I think you are thinking of the Statue of Liberty.”

Daryl: “There’s a fake Empire State Building in Las Vegas too… What’s the Eiffel tower?”

Jane: “It’s shaped like this and it’s in New York.”

Me (with a sigh): “It’s in Paris.”

Running Away

When Jane was in the fourth grade, she blew the top off the AR reading record at school. AR stands for Accelerated Reader. Children read books and then take comprehension tests to earn points. For a variety of reasons, she had had limited access to computers to take the tests in third grade, so she was trying to compensate in fourth. The top reader in the school usually had 2 or 3 hundred points. By the end of the year, Jane had over 1000.

The Parent Teacher Association rewarded her with a new Kindle. The day before she was scheduled to receive the Kindle, I found the following note while cleaning up the living room:

I am sorry. I have run away, and taken the viola with me. I had to do it. Will be at school to collect Kindle tommorrow.
Love, Jane
P.S. Daddy works me to hard.

I wasn’t too concerned. The runaway was asleep in her room when I found the note. I guess she had a change of heart.